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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

How to improve the candidate and client experience in a candidate-short jobs market?

Business advice

Kevin Keegan avatar

Written by Kevin Keegan Business Advice Manager

A recruiter should act as a single trusted advisor to candidates.

Building relationships with clients and candidates is the most important attribute of any recruiter.   

Satisfying your client’s expectation is always difficult, regardless of the market imbalance we are currently experiencing.

How can you ensure you build and maintain a strong candidate and client experience in a candidate-short jobs market? 

What does a candidate want from a recruiter?    

  • New opportunities   

  • Personal development

  • Feedback - good or bad (but constructive preferred!)
  • Smooth and timely recruitment process  
  • Remuneration/benefits  
  • Consistent communication - recruiters should aim to respond to all applying candidates
  • The opportunity to work for a company that has brand strength and integrity. 

Your candidates want you to be on hand - willing to return their calls and reply to their emails. They are putting their trust in you to help them find a new career. 

Candidates do not want to work with countless agencies – they want one trusted advisor. Someone they can rely on, who can offer advice and support. 

Giving good advice to a candidate may not always result in a fee. It may result in a referral and then a fee in the future, as candidates remember how they felt being treated during the process.  

Remember, being a recruiter is about being creative. It may be that your candidate is not a perfect fit. They may bring experience that is difficult to put a value on. If you are unable to help with their job search, it is better to be upfront about it. Explain that you have nothing currently matching their requirements. Treat all your candidates with respect, and they will reciprocate.   

Remember, we are currently in a candidate short market, but this will undoubtedly change as we go through the next recruitment cycle.  

Is your recruitment process truly open to you all?

Our checklist can help you optimise how you hire.

What do clients want?

Clients also need advice and guidance. Have they reviewed the benefits and remuneration packages on offer for instance?

Candidate short markets create difficulties for recruiters, but it also checks their creativity and their problem-solving abilities. It is your responsibility to explain to the client why you have been unable to find the perfect candidate – and sometimes why their “ideal” view of a candidate might not even exist. Always outline what measures you have taken to find suitable candidates.

How can you fix your client’s current vacancy requirements? 

In this situation, talk to your clients about widening the brief. Explain the current candidate short market and the consequences of not recruiting.

Ask the client to consider flexible working:

  • Give your client options – could the job be part-time?
  • Could the role be job-shared? 
  • Could they (client) organise training if they have the right candidate?
  • Could the candidate work from home?

Remind them that forward-thinking organisations operate a Diversity & Inclusion policy and benefit from it. Outline the benefits that companies gain by having a diverse workforce. Our REC 2021 Guide for Professionals has some great advice on inclusion strategies.

Benefits of hiring a diverse workforce  

  • Increased productivity because of different experiences  

  • Improved creativity as cultures from diverse backgrounds work together, the opportunity for increased creativity exists 

  • Improved cultural awareness  
  • A positive reputation - companies that have a diverse workplace are often seen as forward-thinking employers. And therefore, more tolerant of all backgrounds.
  • An increase in marketing opportunities  
  • Attract more customers 

The rules of engagement do not change because we are in a candidate short market or a shortage of jobs on the market. Recruitment is all about building relationships and then delivering.

Always seek to work with the client on their strategic and sustainable approach to workforce planning. Be a true consultant - this may be particularly useful when the market turns as it undoubtedly will.

You want your client to see you as offering long term, repeatable value. Offering a positive experience for both your candidates and clients whether they are temporary or permanent must be your goal.

Need more advice on managing candidates and clients?

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